One year out of Google: A few reflections and tips

Exactly one year ago, I turned in my laptop and left YouTube headquarters in San Bruno for the final time. (Here’s why.) Holding a plastic My Little Pony toy, given to me by a teammate and mentor on my first day at YouTube (where I worked for the last two of my six years at Google), I boarded the shuttle home without much of a plan for the next few days, let alone months or years.

Many people in my life thought I was crazy. I was leaving behind a promotion, a solid paycheck, a team I loved, increasingly sexy writing assignments, endless free culinary delights, and VIP access to schnazzy events with famous YouTube stars, just to start over from scratch in a brand new field -- and all alone as an entrepreneur.

I’ll admit even I thought I was a bit crazy, flinging myself from stability and success into the unknown like I did. But now, as I reflect on the ways in which my life has changed in a single year, sometimes I’m so grateful I could cry. Today I work just three days a week, which gives me the time I’ve always wanted to devote to my loved ones, my spiritual practice, and my passion for travelling the world. I get to experience the power that comes from doing work aligned to my purpose. And perhaps most importantly, I feel like I’ve finally come alive.

Now it’s my mission to help others do the same. In service of that, here are my top three tips for anyone else who has been teetering on the edge of taking a plunge of their own and could use some support.

Follow the gentle pull

Whether you think of it as the Goddess, your intuition, the still small voice, or the guru in your belly, we each have a place deep inside that is tapped directly into a wordless knowing, or the will of Life. When we listen to and choose from this place and its gentle pull, we cannot go wrong (and magic always follows). It’s as simple as that. But, chances are, your ego will try to make things much more complex.

For example, you may be tempted to ask everyone you know for their advice. It might seem like the responsible thing to do, but as I learned the hard way when I was trying to make up my own mind about leaving Google, it will likely only erode your trust in yourself and leave you more confused. 

That’s because everything you’ll hear will be filtered through the stories and fears of those you hear it from. (Do you really want anyone else’s stories and fears? I’ll bet you have enough of your own!) Instead, practice following the gentle pull of intuition. Start with small things (like which movie to watch) and work your way up to bigger decisions (like when to jump). The more you practice, the more your facility with intuition will increase.

Get yourself a coach 

Just because you feel the pull doesn’t mean it’ll be easy to act on, especially when we’re talking about moves that could rattle your whole world. So if you want to make big changes in your life, do yourself a favor and get yourself a coach! 

I don’t know if I would have ever left Google (let alone the corporate world) without mine. (I even had two for a while!) My fears, circumstances, and limiting beliefs were far too big, sneaky, and sticky for me to break free of my comfort zone alone. There’s no shame in getting some support, and having a good coach can make a world of difference. (I’m full now, but you can either get on my waitlist or I’d happily refer you to another amazing coach.)

If you aren’t ready for a coach, find a friend that really believes in your vision and ask this friend to 1) stand for you to do the thing you say you want to do, and by the date you say you want to do it, even when you get scared, and 2) hold you accountable to taking the required steps along the way. And to address the limiting beliefs holding you back, check out The Work by Byron Katie.

Remember the most important thing

My final recommendation comes from a juicy-yet-oh-so-simple teaching by Suzuki Roshi: “The most important thing is to remember the most important thing.”

I’ll repeat that because it’s so good: The most important thing is to remember the most important thing. When you’re present to whatever that is for you (for me it’s spiritual awakening and integration), you can’t fail but follow your dharma, even if it takes a while.

This life of yours is precious. Even if you believe in reincarnation, you will never have this exact life again, so why would you waste it by living it half-assed or in a way that isn’t fully your own? It’s not too late to come alive, beauty. I hope these tips help!